Among the many changes a woman goes through during pregnancy is the sudden inability to sleep like you used to. You may hear people say that it’s “nature’s way of preparing for the sleepless nights once baby is born,” but there is a biological reason for this shift in sleep patterns. Even before your pregnancy is visible, hormones are fluctuating with this new life inside. New hormones adjust with the development of the placenta like human chorionic gondatropin (or hCG) – the hormone that is made only during pregnancy and plays a part in the nausea and vomiting linked to pregnancy.

Additionally, as baby and your body begin to grow, you have new struggles. You can’t get physically comfortable, or the stress of parenthood may keep your mind racing.

So what’s a mom to do? Here are five pregnancy safe tips and tricks to get you the shut eye you and your growing baby need.

Sleep Hygiene

This is just a term that looks at your bedroom environment and the habits that surround your bedtime. Does your bedroom bring you peace and calm? Is it dark and cool enough? Is there a barking dog or snoring partner that wakes you? Are you doom-scrolling late into the night? If you are nodding your head yes, it is time to make some changes. Avoid screens two hours before bedtime, try reading a book to wind down, sip some warm lemon water, and keep your bedroom dark, cool, and quiet.

Get Comfortable

Easier said than done, we know. Doctors recommend sleeping on your left side during pregnancy to promote healthy circulation. Putting a pillow behind your back and in-between your legs can ease hip and back pain. If you roll over onto your back in the night, try not to worry. Simply roll up a blanket to keep you somewhat elevated and not flat on your back.

Be an Intentional Eater

Pregnancy cravings, gestational diabetes, nausea, and more all impact an already changing digestive system, and it may change daily. Avoiding foods that can cause acid reflux, drinking less before bed, and eating many small meals instead of large ones, especially not too close to bed, can help you sleep better throughout the night. There are lots of online resources for great food suggestions to support a pregnancy if you need help making a plan.

Stretch Your Legs

With the added weight and body changes, pregnant women are more likely to experience restless leg syndrome and leg cramping at night. Taking a warm epsom salt bath to soothe achey muscles, eating bananas and a calcium rich diet, and performing gentle leg stretches all can help relax those restless legs. 

Relax Your Mind

From vivid dreams, to stress and anxiety, or just a busy to-do list for tomorrow, there are many things that race through your mind when it’s time for bed. Journaling, breathing exercises, and listening to a meditation app can all quiet a loud mind. 

Of course, all of these are simply behavioral changes that can support better sleep during pregnancy. Staying healthy during your pregnancy is most important. If you feel that you need medical attention due to sleep issues, contact your doctor. If you need help with some pre-bedtime habit changes, please reach out. A rested mom is a healthy mom!

Rebekka Wall is a Certified Adult Sleep Consultant who is passionate about prioritizing sleep for each member of the family. As a homeschooling mother to three boys, Rebekka knows that the energy and ability to be productive starts with a good night rest. She has a special interest in how pregnancy and hormonal shifts impact women’s sleep and strives to meet each client with providing realistic and sustainable tools for long-term success.

By Rebekka Wall, Adult Sleep Expert